Oct 5, 2019

Southern states suffer from "flash droughts," record-breaking heat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The American South has been hit with record heat, even as other parts of the country welcome fall weather, and it's bringing a sudden dry spell, dubbed a "flash drought" with it, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: The warm and dry regional pattern is hurting crops across the South, per the Times. But if the drought continues, "it could bring wildfires and render entire crops as losses," writes the Wall Street Journal.

By the numbers: In the Southern region, temperatures for the past week have been "generally 9 to 12 degrees above normal," according to the National Drought Monitor.

  • Dozens of cities across the South, and especially the Southeast, are expected to break temperature records as they await official government tallies, per the WSJ.
  • Montgomery, Ala. broke a record on Tuesday by 6 degrees when temperatures hit 101 degrees, notes the WSJ.

States with extreme drought conditions include Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and northern Florida, per the Times.

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Southern "flash drought” drags on

Phillips County, Arkansas on Sept. 28, 2019. Southern Arkansas is experiencing abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein via Getty Images

High temperatures and fast-acting dry spells in the South reported last week have boiled over into a "flash drought" blasting 56 million people with dry heat, AP reports.

What's happening: Parts of Georgia, Texas, Alabama and South Carolina are currently in extreme drought zones, while most of the South is in an abnormally dry or moderate to severe drought. Farmers are concerned "that cattle, cotton and corn are suffering after a summer of record highs and very little rain," per AP.

Go deeperArrowOct 12, 2019

"Potentially historic" October snowstorm expected to strike north-central U.S.

A snowstorm in Denver. Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A massive snowstorm is forecast to pummel the Northern Plains over the weekend, with 6-12 inches of snow projected to fall over the region, along with record-low temperatures, NBC News reports.

What they're saying: Isolated totals for Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota are expected to reach 18 inches, while "[r]ecord low temperatures" are possible across the western and central parts of the U.S. through Friday, NBC notes. Freezing rain, which began to strike New York and New Jersey on Wednesday, is anticipated to last through Friday, according to NBC New York.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019

Powerful wintry snowstorm dumps 2 feet of snow across Northern Plains

A powerful early season snowstorm closed roads, as it continued to pummel the Northern Plains with blizzard conditions Saturday. Parts of the plains were hit by more than 2 feet of snow, and 3-10 inches were set to fall overnight, ABC News reports.

What they're saying: The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center said, "Estimated observed snowfall over the past 72 hours depicts a rather large swath of 18-30 inches across portions of north central and northeast North Dakota." Forecasters warn some areas were set for the season's coldest night, with temperatures as low as 26 degrees expected overnight.

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019